Music brings art to life at Doudna


Mary Ellen Greenburg

Bruce Hecksel performs with Julie Patchouli Thursday night at “The Landscape of Guitar” in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Recital Hall. “We were warming up to this song (Sounds of Silence) and our tour manager came in and said ‘you should play that tonight.’ We looked at each other and then at him and said ‘it isn’t on the approved play list.’ Our tour manager said ‘I don’t care, you should play it.’ So we went out there and played the song and we were only four words in when the entire place erupted in cheers,” Patchouli said.

Mercury Bowen, Entertainment Reporter

Colors danced in time with music as Julie Patchouli and Bruce Hecksel performed “The Landscape of Guitar” Thursday evening at the Doudna Fine Arts Center.

With nearly every seat in the Recital Hall full, Patchouli and Hecksel captured the audience’s attention, garnering rounds of enthusiastic applause at the conclusion of each piece.

Even through some minor technological malfunctions, the duo continued the show, which was a feat in itself given the precise timing required for the performance.

Doudna workers also created a custom-made screen over the glass at the back of the stage for the show, and both Patchouli and Hecksel expressed gratitude.

“They went to a lot of trouble to do that,” Hecksel said. “To have it take up the whole stage like that really brings it together.”

During the show, Hecksel described the duo’s music as having a lot to do with nature.

“The whole world is singing,” Hecksel said. “We just have the opportunity to join in.”

Several audience members commented on how much they enjoyed the combination of the animated art and the music, including Carina Winkleblack, who said she loved the show.

“I’m amazed,” Winkleblack said. “I’ve heard this type of guitar before but it’s always been the Spanish type. This is such a unique blend. Any time you add art to anything it’s, I mean the colors, it’s just so mesmerizing.”

Mike and Jen Armstrong brought their baby daughter Sierra to the show, and Jen Armstrong said it was Sierra’s first time at a concert.

“It’s just nice to have them play and just relax and enjoy the music,” Mike Armstrong said. “(Sierra’s) glued to it.”

Also in attendance were Gloria Summers and Deanna Ochs, who both agreed that the concert was unlike any they’d seen before.

“It think it’s great,” Summers said. “It’s unusual. It’s different. It’s unique. It’s relaxing. You have something to look at and imagine while you’re listening to the music.”

Ochs added that the “animated painting concert experience” definition was an apt one.

“It’s definitely unusual,” Ochs said. “It’s so great that they came to Charleston to Eastern Illinois University.”

Marizza Seling, a sophomore music major, said she really liked the show as well.

“The artwork’s beautiful,” Seling said. “The artwork is really intricate. I think the way they’re playing the guitars is really neat.”

Beth Heldebrandt, public relations director of Booth Library, said she too was impressed with the art from the show, even purchasing a print of the art to take home.

“My friend there is an art teacher in Mattoon,” Heldebrandt said. “I asked her if she wanted to come because I figured she’d like it.”

Louise Vassay also expressed her enjoyment of the show, calling it “fantastic.”

“I thought (the art) was very enhancing,” Vassay said. “But I would have enjoyed them anyway.”

Vassay said she and a group of friends went through the Doudna event booklet, and she selected The Landscape of Guitar because it sounded like something she would enjoy.

“We go through the brochure of what’s coming for the year, and we pick out all the things that we want,” Vassay said. “We’ve already got our tickets for the whole year.”

As for the show itself, Patchouli said she felt it went very well.

“It was just so fun,” Patchouli said.

Mercury Bowen can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].